Last week it was Australia, this week we head to India on our world tour of readers’ picks.
Readers’ Picks: Heartbreaker
I would like to bring to your notice one person, who has always been the King of Little things but has never really been mentioned in your column, he is The Heart Break Kid, Shawn Micheals. He has always done things that have elevated his performance to the next level, be it his spitting out the gum from his mouth while taking the Pedigree, or him signaling to the crowd that he is crazy before jumping off a ladder at Summer Slam Or the most recent act of Shining his Shoe after kicking the taste out of Jeff Hardy’s mouth or his usual Reclining in the corner routine. Now these are the things that separate a good performance from a great one
Could not have said it better myself. HBK has always been one of my favorite performers, despite all of the politics associated with his backstage persona. Sheer charisma can carry a performer far and Michaels has it in spades. He is a testament to the fact that you don’t need to be on steroids to be impressive in the ring or a credible heavyweight contender. His program with Jericho recently has been impressive and has elevated Jericho in the process (HBK elevate a non-clique member? NO!). I was especially impressed with the blade job and feeble attempts to recover from it last week after the kabong from Jericho’s chair. All he needs to do now is finish his work with a clean loss at WrestleMania and then maybe people will stop giving him flak.
Let’s have some fun, shall we? This week, I give you an inadvertently double-sized edition of the Little 5 for the 3.10.2003 edition of RAW:
1. Technically, I Can Be Difficult
Consider it the straw that has broken this camel’s back. I have defended WWe’s production difficulties for weeks now, arguing that producing live television on a weekly basis is hard and that the company’s good historical record demands that we the audience cut them some slack. Last night though, some glitch, Kevin Dunn’s absence or whatever caused me to suffer through 5 mins or so of really, really bad advertising. To make sure that I don’t go off on a killing spree and to keep my readers entertained, we will relieve the tension with a special Little 5 within the Little 5 dedicated to last night’s string of ads:
1.1. Pot Luck
I really really hate these ads. I do not have much of a libertarian streak in me, if at all, but it pains me to think that my tax dollars are funding even a fraction of a percent of these misleading ads. If my memory serves me correctly, these ads contend that 1/3rd of all drug-related automobile accidents involve marijuana. And that you shouldn’t do it Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcause it is dangerous.
Welcome to a crash course in statistics, where rule numero uno is Ã¢â‚¬â€œ correlation does NOT equal causation. For example, say that all of the people in this study who had used the drug also had alcohol in their system as well? That might have more to do with it than the wacky tobacky. Shoot, let’s not even consider the fact that this third plus the other 2/3rds of the accidents probably were caused by alcohol in some way and should be the focus of an obnoxious television ad campaign. Social conventions really tend to amaze me. Since alcohol has a history of being brewed and consumed in this country that dates back to its founding, it is more readily accepted than a less harmful drug like pot and thus legal. People truly do not know what is good for them.
Don’t even get me started on that ad about the pregnant girl either. I screamed in pain when I saw it (the ad, not the girl’s baby).
1.2. Evil Empire
So the new Empire movie is out on DVD. Great. The real shame here is that the idea of a major movie studio creating a studio specifically for the production of movies that cater to Latinas and other minorities is a great idea. What isn’t great is when said studio produces an absurd clunker like this movie. So let’s get this straight, an investment banker, aka whitey, is going to risk his job, which certainly required long hours in college and as an analyst among other sacrifices, and the chance to make lucrative deals to pull one over on some guy affiliated with a street gang? Not even comic books could surmise a more foolhardy scenario.
“Why don’t you go back to your ghettoes?Ã¢â‚¬Â Jesus. Trust me on this guys, the “manÃ¢â‚¬Â holding down minorities is not exactly in investment banking. More than likely, he is in consulting, politics or quite possibly, a member of the local street gang. Go figure.
PS Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I’m an investment banker, I know about this stuff.
1.3. Bite the Mullet
It’s not all bad. That Mullets Rock cd is such a funny idea that I bet it actually sells.
1.4. Rotten to the Core
Another movie mess. Ya know, if it’s not lame sequels (I read on this site that there is actual, non-drug-induced consideration being given to a second Eight-Legged Freaks movie), horrible tv-to-big-screen movies (Brady Bunch, Scooby Doo just off the top of my head) or something else, it’s a clichÃƒÂ© genre that really gets on my nerves. Do we really need to see another movie where the earth is in danger through some absurd plot mechanism (in this movie apparently the earth stops rotating and electrical storms and earthquakes are going to wipe the planet out Ã¢â‚¬â€œ ask your handy physics prof how feasible this is for a good laugh sometime) and must be bailed out by a group of unlikely heroes in an equally absurd manner. Wasn’t Armageddon and Independence Day enough? Please don’t see this movie and encourage Hollywood any further. The same holds true for romantic comedies.
1.5. Drive Me Crazy
Does one actually need a shoe specifically designed for the purpose of driving a car?
I didn’t think so. I feel much better now.
2. The Devil Continues to Earn His Due
The inevitable complaints surrounding the Booker/HHH feud are beginning to surface in droves. Even in the WWe locker room, so says the 411 News board, people are uncomfortable with the tension in this feud.
This is exactly the type of thing Vince used to not shy away from when the company was at its peak. Simply put, if we watch actors on the silver screen that deal with racially sensitive topics, why is everyone upset if such tension is present between a couple of wrestlers? Because they are fighting? Because it is live instead of on tape?
Look, as long as this is done with subtlety and the wrestlers understand it is just an angle, this could be very entertaining wrestling. I emphasize subtlety again because if it is done in that over-the-top fashion WWe has been famous for, it diminishes the tension and seriousness of the feud. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself how seriously you took the issue of WWe’s censorship via the PTC after that RTC angle of a couple of years ago? Can you even remember that angle anymore?
The writing team so far is executing this well. Little things like bringing up Booker’s real-life past and HHH asking Booker for a towel while flapping a dollar in his face is subtle, but very effective. HHH pounding Maven, another minority wrestler to prove what a bully he is is also acceptable although I think the end spot where Maven ended up hung by the neck in the ropes was pushing it, personally. Rubbing his head in the belt was fine enough, but nobody I know of out there seems to have issues with it. Maybe they really are doing a good job with the subtlety.
I laughed out loud when HHH declared that Booker had jumped him and that he never saw it coming. Pure genius.
3. Credit Check
Was that not a perfect promo by Mr. Bischoff? That promo was both funny in its premise (Bischoff apologizing then taking credit, not the blame, for the Austin Era) and excellent in that it laid the groundwork for a logical feud with Austin (he wouldn’t bury the hatchet honorably). I especially liked the part where he detailed their similairites right down the jeans and feuds with Vince. I have to wonder if he writes his own material because he delivers it as well as any heel in the business right now.
4. Good As Gold
After Austin stuck that hot dog in his mouth, I thought, “Dustin, if you eat it, it would be really funnyÃ¢â‚¬Â. Dustin did not disappoint. I feel very bad that his natural opponents, Batista and Orton, heading into WrestleMania are both on the shelf and that it leaves his entertaining character without much to do. If I had my druthers, Goldie would cost HHH the belt and the two would have a Backlash program where Hunter does the right thing and puts him over. One can dream, at any rate
5. The People’s Section
No water bottle or cell phone, but the guitar was enough. That cheesy scale he plays before the actual song is even growing on me.
Among the highlights last night were the mcnuggets comment in his dressing room, the awesome cheap shot to set up the match, the return of using an opponents ring attire to humiliate the opponent, the Jim Thome and LeBron James comments to stir up the Cleveland crowd, a perfectly executed stall at the beginning of the match (where he escaped through the ropes), and the aboslutely priceless look of shock on his face after he lost the match.
Keep the comments coming and I’ll see you next week.